Where does a money-deprived, hungry, tired-looking uni student go to rejuvenate? For me, it’s either going to be Tenkomori for their tasty ramen, Oiden for their hearty rice dishes or the subject of this review… Mappen for their amazing udon! If you visit these places as much as I do, you might be familiar with the Washoku Lovers offers these stores have. Washoku Lovers paired up with these popular Japanese eateries (and many more) to create affordable offers to those who just want a tasty, fulfilling and cheap Japanese meal! Being a member is heaps of fun – there’s always competitions and unique offers around Japanese cuisine and it’s free to join! What’s not to love, right?
If you haven’t been to Mappen yet, I hope I can convince you by the end of this review that this place is essential to any uni student’s diet. In short, Mappen is a casual self-serve Japanese eatery in a cafeteria sort of format. It’s easy to personalise your meal, with different sizes, sides and drinks for you to order. No idea why I haven’t done a review on this place but Washoku Lovers was kind enough to invite me to Mappen to review the food here.
Usually, I just go with the canned unsweetened green tea (glorious Oi Ocha) as my drink of choice but I felt a little fancy today so I opted for the Green Tea Slushie that they had. Although I found myself wishing it had a bit more green tea flavour, this was a great drink to complement the flavour filled udon dishes we had.
Before I even begin with the main meals – Mappen’s udon noodles are top-notch! Just the right thickness, texture and chewiness. They’re imported directly from Japan so you know it’s going to be good, right?
Anyway, this is my absolute favourite. With the Pork Shabu Shabu Bukkake Udon, you have the option of having it served hot or cold – it’s traditionally served cold and I recommend it! The great thing about cold noodles is that you can just slurp them non-stop without worrying about the safety of your tongue. The delicious sesame sauce makes the dish so addictive, I find myself eating every sweet corn and snow pea sprout left in the bowl.
As for the sides, I always choose the potato salad in the small fridge and since I’m allergic to 90% of the tempura, I got the vegetable tempura which sadly was a bit cold by the time I got to it.
And this is what my friend decided on: she wanted something a little spicy so she chose the hot Bukkake Kimchi Udon with minced pork and a side of tempura fish and takoyaki. She also added an extra ontama – excellent choice! That ontama seriously enhances any item on the menu, I promise. Unfortunately, my friend made the comment that this wasn’t as spicy as she liked and the sides she chose were a little bland.
Conclusion: Honestly, with the crazy prices in Sydney, there’s not many places that can fill you up for under ten bucks. That’s why Mappen is essential to any budgeting students’ diet, and Washoku Lovers makes it even easier with their extra value meal offers. With a menu so affordable, it’s hard to pick any outstanding flaws. Yes, the sides are a little lacking but one can’t deny that they make pretty great udon. And they make it fast, too and they’re located centrally on George St! Mappen is doing something right.
Address: Shop 11, Skyview Shopping Plaza, 537-551 George Street, CBD, Sydney, NSW